You may have a lot on your mind these days, but we hope that wastewater isn’t one of them. As a customer of Baldwin County Sewer, you can flush, wash and use all the water needed without thinking twice about it. Our offices are currently still closed to the public, but our employees are available for you. If you need us during this time, a real person will always handle your call. Here’s a friendly reminder of other ways we can help you:
- 24/7 on-site service
- $75 standard service charge, even after hours
- Service charges are not due right away- they’re added to the next monthly bill
- In-house financing for larger repairs on monthly bills, including 0% interest, with no credit check and no pre-payment penalty fee.
- Temporary grinder pumps are provided if off-site pump repairs are needed
So you don’t have to worry, we have provided helpful tips below to help you avoid plumbing and sewer service problems, along with troubleshooting advice if you do encounter an issue. Also included are tips to help you make simple changes to save energy and water, lowering your utility bills, and giving you less to worry about.
If you have trouble paying all of your bills right now, we suggest that you contact one of the local non-profit organizations that offer assistance with utility bills. Find the one closest to you to learn more about their guidelines and how they may be able to help. BCSS partners with these agencies to assist in granting their beneficial services to our community.
Prevent sewer system repairs:
- Do not put the following items in toilets or drains: Leftover cooking oils, disposable wipes, feminine products, paint, or sand
- Wipe as much grease off dishes as possible before washing them.
- Pour larger amounts of excess grease into a sealed container to recycle or throw away
- Pour ½ cup dish soap in the sink monthly to help prevent build-up in pipes and pumps
- If you have a float system pump and feel comfortable doing so, press the “Push to Run” button in the pump’s panel box, then open the grinder pump lid, and hose the pump out with some dish soap in the pump basin.
Troubleshooting Tips Before Calling BCSS or a Plumber:
If you don’t have a grinder pump, or your grinder pump’s alarm has been turned off, here are some tips in case of a sewer back-up or an overflow:
- If there is a pump, make sure the breaker switch in the pump’s outdoor panel box or in the main breaker box hasn’t been tripped.
- Consider the possibility of a clog in the plumbing line from the home / building to the sewer service line, especially if the outside sewer cleanout is not full of wastewater (sewage). Here is a demonstration on how to check your cleanout.
- Many properties do not have visible cleanouts, especially at older homes and buildings. If water is backing up in just one sink, tub or toilet and it is not the lowest drain in the house, the clog might be in the house plumbing. Drain cleaner, although not good to use in large quantities, can clear a clog. So can boiling water or a drain snake. Contact a plumber if you don’t feel comfortable fixing the clog yourself or if you’re unable to resolve it.
- Many properties don’t have visible cleanouts, particularly older homes and buildings. However, if water is backing up in one particular appliance, and it’s not the lowest drain in the home, it’s likely that the clog might be in the house’s plumbing. To help clear this, you could use drain cleaner, though be cautious not to use too large an amount. Boiling water and drain snakes are also effective in clearing clogged drains. Contact a plumber if these solutions don’t help to resolve your problem.
- If sewage has overflowed in your yard, it’s likely that there is a clog or break in your sewer service line. BCSS can inspect a service line issue and recommend a plumber if a further repair is needed.
If you do have a grinder pump and the alarm is on for more than 15 minutes:
- If there has been heavy rain and there’s flooding around the pump, turn the pump’s breaker switch off until flooding subsides.
- Otherwise, if you have a float system pump, you can press the “Push to Run” button located on the inside of the pump’s panel box. From there, remove the pump lid and check if something is stuck in the pump or if any floats are stuck to the side of the basin. If need be, you’re able to remove blockages and clean the basin and floats with simple dish soap and a garden hose.
- After performing these steps, check if the light is still on. If it’s on, or you don’t have a float system pump, contact BCSS or a plumber to help.
Easy ways to reduce utility bills:
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine when full.
- Air dry any clothes that you can to reduce the amount of time using the dryer.
- When using a clothes dryer, dryer balls can cut the time needed to dry clothes by up to 25%.
- Wash clothes on warm or cold when possible.
- Use energy efficient light bulbs.
- Save water by choosing showers over baths, taking shorter showers, and turning off the faucet while you’re brushing your teeth.
- Change air filters regularly, and keep your home’s vents clean.
- Unplug any appliances that aren’t being used for long periods of time.
- Turn off the lights and electronics when leaving a room.
- Adjust your water heater temperature. Lowering the temp to 120 F is perfectly fine for most households.
- Take advantage of ceiling fans instead of lowering the temperature on the thermostat.
- Simulate a Low Flush Toilet: If you don’t have a new, water-saver toilet, you can simulate one by putting a clean brick, or a sealed plastic bottle filled with pebbles, or a weighted mason jar, into your toilet tank. This displaces water so that less is used each time you flush.
- Keep your fridge cool: Let hot food sit out an hour or so before you put it in the fridge, so your fridge doesn’t need to expend more energy cooling it down.
Sources: Thepennyhoarder.com and Clark.com